Improving Heart Failure

Survival improves for chronic heart failure patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Patients wind up with heart failure when the heart simply can't pump enough blood to the rest of the body. But since there wasn't a main database of all cases, it wasn't known how many patients were surviving. Until now.

Better tracking from the Heart Failure Pilot Study shows improvements in survival for chronic heart failure patients.  Previous poor record keeping meant the stats simply were not known.

Registries and surveys of heart failure patients have generally been limited to chronic or acute conditions without the benefit of access to the entire clinical histories of such patients.

"Ask your cardiologist about heart failure treatments."

Final results of the Heart Failure Pilot Study, a general registry of the European Society of Cardiology's ongoing EurObservational Research Programme, reveals outcomes of real world heart failure patients across Europe. Though improvements in survival for chronic heart failure patients were noted, work is still needed to improve survival rates of acute heart failure patients.

Professor Aldo Maggioni from the Centro Studi ANMCO in Italy said the study also helped identify several independent predictors of outcome, which will aid in treating high-risk patients.

The pilot study was an observational survey that followed patients in 136 cardiology centers in 12 European countries. The study included 5,118 patients followed between October 2009 and May 2010. Of those patients, 37 percent were admitted for acute heart failure and 63 percent were admitted for chronic heart failure. All patients were followed for a year after treatment. About 5 percent of patients were lost during follow up.

The mortality rate of patients with chronic heart failure appeared to improve with 7 percent dying within a year of follow up. However, outcomes for acute heart failure patients were still considered unacceptably poor with an all-cause mortality rate of 17 percent, and a combined mortality or hospitalization rate of 35 percent.

In 40 percent of cases the causes of death were cardiovascular-related and sudden, which had been expected.

Researchers attributed the improvement in outcomes for chronic heart failure patients to the prescription of a high rate of guideline-suggested medications such as beta blockers. The study found that the drugs were prescribed appropriately and that patients did a good job of taking them in the first year of follow up.

However, acute heart failure patients were treated more anecdotally. Maggioni said that may because of the lack of research demonstrating effective treatment to improve outcomes.

As a result of the pilot study, a long-term registry began in May and already has garnered participation from 32 European countries.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 31, 2011
Last Updated:
September 4, 2011